Book: Fields Of Blood: Religion And The History Of Violence

Karen Armstrong
Bodley Head, €12.99, ebook €15.99
Review: Dean Haigh

World-renowned religious scholar and bestselling author of A History Of God, Karen Armstrong’s latest work attempts to debunk the idea that religion has been the prime cause of major wars throughout history.

She takes us on an epic journey, from prehistoric times to the present day and argues that, rather than religion causing state-sanctioned violence, war is a symptom of, and a necessity of, modern agrarian societies —built upon the idea of imperialism and violent control as the most effective way to achieve peace, while increasing the accumulation of land and wealth for the privileged few.

Well researched, insightful and revelatory, as is par for Armstrong’s work, here she offers a compelling argument that a warrior ethos, which developed from agrarian aggression, became bound up with the sacred. This then permeated all aspects of such societies in their infancies.


Much has been said about the perils of being stuck in the house 24/7, like family pets interrupting your important conference calls, your partner leaving their dirty dishes everywhere and the lack of respite from the kids.Silver lining: Seven enforced money-saving habits you might want to continue after lockdown

Put you and your loved ones' pop-culture knowledge to the test with Arts Editor Des O'Driscoll's three fiendishly fun quiz rounds.Scene and Heard: the Arts Ed's family entertainment quiz

A passion for heritage and the discovery of some nifty new software has resulted in an Irish architect putting colour on thousands of old photographs, writes Marjorie BrennanBringing the past to life

Richard Hogan, family psychotherapist, addresses a reader's question about life during lockdownHolding on: how to help your child through the crisis

More From The Irish Examiner